The Forest for the Trees ★★★★★

Melanie's hide while seek mode of attempted connection always dissipates to an abject floundering and defeat in every human (and petting zoo animal) encounter, and Maren Ade only spares you from the cringing contortions of watching those interactions to let you unwind into Melanie's loneliest devastations. It's an unhappy thing to share with her, but also a privileged one as audience because she's uniquely unguarded against our seeing, not constructing the meekly smiling front to desperately ingratiate herself to us. Besides the miserable feelings of "dang, I have been Melanie exactly all these times in my life, thank you both brain & stomach in terrible concert to so capably recollect it all for me," I am also left thinking of the sorts of initiative kindness and attention requisite to really seeing the never-that-subcutaneous hardships & reachings out that are always out there in the actually peopled world of the not-movies.

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